Global health is the health of populations in a global context; it has been defined as “the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide”.
Problems that transcend national borders or have a global political and economic impact are often emphasized.
Thus, global health is about worldwide health improvement, reduction of disparities, and protection against global threats that disregard national borders.
Global health is not to be confused with international health, which is defined as the branch of public health focusing on developing nations and foreign aid efforts by industrialized countries.
Global health can be measured as a function of various global diseases and their prevalence in the world and threat to decrease life in the present day.
The predominant agency associated with global health (and international health) is the World Health Organization (WHO). Other important agencies impacting global health include UNICEF, World Food Programme, and the World Bank. The United Nations has also played a part with declaration of the Millennium Development Goals and the more recent Sustainable Development Goals.
Ravindra et al., discuss the unmet needs for neurosurgical care around the world and some of the innovative work being done to address this need. The growing demonstration of surgical innovation and cost-effective technology represents an opportunity within neurosurgery to achieve the goal of making surgical care more accessible to the global population 1)
Globally, the lack of access to basic surgical care causes 3 times as much deaths as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. The magnitude of this unmet need has been described recently, and the numbers are startling. Major shifts in global health agenda have highlighted access to essential and emergency surgery as a high priority. A broad examination of the current global neurosurgical efforts to improve access has revealed some strengths, particularly in the realm of training; however, the demand grossly outstrips the supply; most people in low-income countries do not have access to basic surgical care, either due to lack of availability or affordability. Projects that help create a robust and resilient health system within low- and middle-income countries require urgent implementation. In this context, concurrent scale-up of human resources, investments in capacity building, local data collection, and analysis for accurate assessment are essential. In addition, through process of collaboration and consensus building within the neurosurgical community, a unified voice of neurosurgery is necessary to effectively advocate for all those who need neurosurgical care wherever, whenever 2).
Andrews RJ, Quintana LM. Neurosurgical Care for One–Neurosurgical Care for All: Global Neurosurgical Care Has Global Benefits! World Neurosurg. 2016 Jan;85:22-4. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.08.002. Epub 2015 Aug 13. PubMed PMID: 26278867.
Bean JR. Neurosurgical Innovation in the Developing World: Where Will It Come From? World Neurosurg. 2015 Dec;84(6):1522-4. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.07.014. Epub 2015 Jul 14. PubMed PMID: 26187111.